Independents - In For the Kill (Cover Artwork)


In For the Kill (1995)


When people think of "horror-punk", usually the Misfits come to mind. When the genre of "horror-ska" comes to mind (I can't believe there is a genre called "horror-ska"), people tend to think of Leftover Crack or Mephiskapheles. Basically, the Independents are a mixture of the two styles, and while their image may be ridiculous, their music is brilliant.

I first heard the Independents on a local college ska show back in 1997. The song was called "Buried Alive" and it changed the way I look at 3rd wave ska music. My fave ska-punk bands at the time were RBF, Save Ferris, Mustard Plug and Buck-O-9. It never occured to me that ska-punk didnt have to be about parties and girls, and that it could be played without horns. Here was a band using the ska upbeat, but sans horns and with very different lyrical content. Specifically, the song was about a man burying his lover alive, coffin and all. This is ska?

Well this is a kind of ska, a freaky blend of ska, punk and pure evil. As corny as it sounds, the mix works really well. While my favorite song is still "Buried Alive", almost every song is a winner. "Lost In Space", "They Accuse Me", "Succubus", "Sad Man" and "New In Town" are all great tunes. The music is a mixture of ska upbeats, Ramones/Misfits style punk (Joey Ramone was the bands manager) and a vocalist who does a dead-on Elvis impression. The band members all have aliases, among them vocalist Evil Presley, Willy B and Blackie Lavey. To look at them, its hard to keep a straight face as they look like a biker gang gone wrong. Try your best to ignore the cheese-ball image, and just listen to the tunes.

This is one band that truly has mastered the horror-punk sound. While the Misfits are only a remnant of what they once were, and Leftover Crack are trying to hard to be edgy and satantic, The Independents are ska-punk bliss. Buy this, and all their subsequent releases if you can find them.